Website Providers Survey Results: 50 Below

Publish Date: 
Jun 25, 2009

Last Updated: June 25, 2009

50 Below
5 W. First St., Ste. 302
P.O. box 16827 (55816)
Duluth, MN 55802
218-720-4828 or 866-479-2693

1. When was your company founded?

50 Below started in 1997 with a single client. Over the past 12 years, Mike Rollo and David Hogge have taken that same one-to-one philosophy to expand the company’s scope and direction. 50 Below has grown beyond the bounds of powersports to now host over 30,000 retailer, agent/advisor, franchisee websites and e-commerce stores.

2. How many people does your company employ? How many are dedicated to powersports dealer services?

50 Below has a staff of approximately 200 dedicated employees working in sales, design, data and development. There are 60-80 employees dedicated in some capacity to the powersports industry.

3. When did your company start building websites for powersports dealers?

In 1998, 50 Below approached Polaris Industries with a website model and a plan to provide each of their dealers a robust online solution. 50 Below continues its strong relationship and commitment to Polaris more than 10 years later.

4. How many powersports dealers have a website built by your company? How many dealers of other types have a website built by you?

Powersports = 2,500
Others = 28,000

50 Below is a multi-concept, full-range provider of online solutions. We have hundreds of dealers that have the simplest of website designs such as template or branded to a specific design or company. Meanwhile, we have hundreds more dealers who have the more robust, multi-function, custom-designed websites with e-commerce carts.

Our business consists of four business units: Advisor Solutions (such as Citi Smith Barney and Morgan Stanley), Franchise Solutions (such as Mail Boxes Etc. and The UPS Store), Retailer Solutions (such as Arctic Cat, LeMans, and Invacare) and Corporate Consulting (such as Golden Technologies, Pentair, and Arctic Cat).

50 Below designs, develops, maintains and continually upgrades large-scale Web applications for many corporate entities with a vast network of dealerships, agents or advisors, and franchisees. We have Marketing Account Executives working directly with hundreds of dealers in the following industries: Pool & Spa, Home Medical Equipment, Tire & Automotive, Purina, IGA, and many more in our Retail Solutions side. The same is true on our Advisor Solution and Franchisee Solution side where MAEs are working with hundreds of financial advisors and business owners across North America.

5. Can you estimate the total annual sales through all the powersports websites?

Not available.

6. How do dealers pay? Describe your pricing structure, including all options, setup costs, monthly fees, etc.

50 Below doesn’t have a “one size fits all” payment scenario because we don’t provide “one size fits all” online solutions. All of our clients go through an evaluation where it’s determined exactly what their needs are now … and into the future. Our websites can cost in a range from free for a “basic” solution (home page, map, contact us, etc.) to $9,000 or more for a custom solution with far more bells and whistles, including the award-winning features of rotating Professional website Merchandising and EZ-Shop with Fitment. We have dealers who are willing to spend upward of $14,000 a year, but that’s their choice to get the proper solution for their store needs.

Some dealers choose to pay annually, while other clients find it more beneficial to work out other options such as quarterly or monthly payments. We want to be as accommodating for our clients as possible during these uncertain economic times for them.

50 Below is upfront with all pricing including setup costs, monthly fees and any other payments. We won’t lock clients into auto-renewal contracts and don’t take a percentage of dealers’ online retail sales.

7. Do dealers get to keep their domain URL even if they discontinue their service with you?

Our dealers have always been able to keep their domain should they unfortunately ever decide to end their relationship with 50 Below. Unless specified by the dealer, 50 Below is set up as the domain registrant for each domain name. This does prevent spammers from hijacking the domain through fake renewal letters, which is a common practice.

8. How long does it typically take to build a site without e-commerce? About how long does it take to build a medium-sized site with e-commerce?

To begin with, a default website can be up and online within 48 hours after purchase.

A “predesigned” 50 Below website generally gets built with seven to 10 days of the completed sale. A couple of weeks aren’t uncommon from purchase to approval for many site builds.

“Custom” designs, which most of our sites are, can take 24-28 days, but that’s also dependent on getting the dealer’s approval at a couple of key stages of the build. If a dealer purchases a top-tier website with multi-offer merchandising and EZ-Shop, it’ll take three to four weeks to get it done to the specs of the dealer.

Turning on and incorporating catalogs and a shopping cart doesn’t really add to the timeline. The time element is all in the design and approval process.

9. Do you offer initial training? If so, what is it and how long does it take?

50 Below all but makes it mandatory for dealers, or a least a dealership’s designated Webmaster, to go through training. The training varies from dealer to dealer, but it’s done over the phone and online using tools such as GoToMeeting and WebEx. Training is conducted generally one-on-one by an experienced trainer and in certain circumstance we’ll use the mass medium of Webinars.

The functionality of websites today, while completely manageable, is more complicated than a decade ago or even a couple of years ago. And we also want dealers to be more hands-on with their website. There are a lot of changes dealers can make in their website and online store with immediacy. They don’t have to call in for their MAE or a customer service representative to help. While we always encourage dealers to call, it’s sometimes simpler and takes less effort for properly trained dealers to make changes themselves.

10. What types of ongoing support do you offer? Phone, online, on-site, remote access? When is it available? How do dealers pay for the support?

All support 50 Below provides is ongoing. It’s part of the intrinsic agreement we make with our customers. Our MAEs, customer service reps, and design liaisons will always make themselves available to assist dealers … at no additional cost. Dealers can reach a 50 Below representative by phone (customer service 866-880-1615) Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or they can certainly make an appointment for more in-depth conversations.

11. Can your sites integrate with any of the dealer management systems? If so, which ones, and are all the integrations one-way (meaning data can be downloaded off the site, but not uploaded)?

As part of an exclusive agreement, 50 Below websites integrate directly with the ADP LightspeedNXT dealer management system. (ARI and PSN websites also integrate with LightspeedNXT, but ADP Lightspeed has agreed to work on a two-way integration with only 50 Below. — ed.) When a dealer goes into their DMS, they simply click on the Web orders button and the order is pulled from the 50 Below Command Center, which is holding the order made via the online store.

In the near future, the ADP Lightspeed integration will give dealers the ability to list inventory levels on their website. This will allow their customers to see if an item they’re interested in is available, or can be available in 24 hours, or is completely out of stock.

Our open lead management application programming interface (API) allows for a dealer to have their preferred DMS or CRM provider integrated to the 50 Below Command Center.

12. From how many vendors do you collect product information and images? Are there any major OEMs or suppliers from which you do not collect information?

The 50 Below Data Acquisition staff has currently loaded more nearly 1100 total catalogs of which roughly 210 are powersports-related catalogs. The remainder of the catalogs is Pool & Spa, Home Medical Equipment, Tires & Automotive, HVAC and Custom-types.

13. Do you collect information from any Canadian vehicle or aftermarket distributors?

Yes. Where there is a Canadian version of a catalog, we make sure it’s loaded — for example, Arctic Cat, BRP Can-Am, BRP Sea-Doo and Ski-Doo, Polaris, Victory, Klim, Scorpion and Yamaha. Catalogs such as Parts Canada, Kimpex and Motovan are in the progress of data loading.

14. How do the dealers receive the product information and images? Do they pay the same regardless of how many suppliers they have?

The product information and images are preloaded in the 50 Below database and available to be activated on a dealer’s website. There are no extra costs for the number of catalogs a dealer needs in their online store, whether it’s one or 100. Product information and images are updated automatically on dealer websites. When 50 Below gets pricing revisions, product information, promotions or image changes, updates are made to the appropriate dealer websites automatically through a weekly data sync.

15. Can dealers buy the product information and images only? If so, how much do they cost per vendor?

No, we don’t provide product information or images al a carte for general dealer use.

16. Are OEM promotions automatically uploaded to the applicable sites (i.e., all Honda promotions uploaded to all Honda franchise dealers)?

Yes. Over 100 powersports promotions are continually updated and available for 50 Below dealers.

17. What type of security do your websites use to protect customer information?

50 Below uses 256-bit encryption technology for the check-out process of all dealers websites. Anti-virus software and intrusion protection is also used to secure online transactions and business over the Internet. Independent daily “hacker” scanning is done. Both physical and virtual access to sensitive customer data is prohibited at the employee level.

18. Do you offer any organic SEO or paid SEO services? If so, how much do they cost?

Yes, Every 50 Below powersports dealer receives an SEO-friendly website, which is pre-optimized to 2009 industry best practices. 50 Below SEO Specialists, with an average of six years SEO experience, manage each dealer website at no additional charge.

Paid SEM (Search Engine Marketing) services are available with the cost bid on a per-campaign basis.

19. Please note whether your standard website offering has the following features and answer applicable follow-up questions. Please note if the features are options that cost more. Feel free to make comments or (where applicable) to note the third-party company that provides the feature.

Yes, standard.

  • Shopping cart for P&A sales

  • Ability to market new/used vehicles

    Yes, standard.

  • Merchant account for credit card payment processing and the payment transaction software (which cards are accepted? can dealers use their own payment processor instead?)

    A dealer can choose to authorize Web orders via or use their existing merchant account. The credit cards accepted are determined by the dealer and configurable on their website.

  • Proper tax calculations for all 50 states and Canada

    Yes. The dealer can configure a tax rate for each state. Note: Proposed “Internet Tax” laws are being monitored.

  • Shipping price quotes and tracking (which carriers?)

    Shipping carriers and prices are set by the dealer. Tracking notification is provided automatically for ADP LightspeedNXT integrated dealers.

  • Shipping price estimator for used-vehicle purchases


  • “Other Customers Also Purchased” feature


  • “Also Consider” recommendation feature


  • Customer Relationship Management system including customer registration, an e-mail blaster and leads management

    Yes. 50 Below websites integrate with the V-SEPT Powersports CRM to

make sure sales leads are available to a dealer’s sales team for follow-up.


  • Ability to create a toll-free 800 tracking number to direct leads to the lead manager


  • Customer Guest Book


  • Auto response to customer e-mails


  • Ability to accept finance applications


  • Payment calculator


  • Fuel savings calculator


  • Ability to create user accounts


  • Instant messaging for customer support (on the dealer sites for their customers)

    Optional. This is based on dealer request.

  • “Events” page


  • “Testimonials” page


  • Google Maps integration for “Contact Us” page

    Yes. However, we provide separate pages for Map/Directions and Contact Us. The mapping may not necessarily be provided by MapQuest or Google Maps.

  • “Staff” page with photos

    Yes, standard.

  • Rotational graphic modules for the home page

    This is available through our award-winning multi-offer/rotating Professional Web Site Merchandising product. It is not standard and requires an additional cost.

  • Ability to create and manage Internet advertising and coupons


  • Search box

    Yes. This has always been a standard function in our e-commerce carts.

  • Search box auto-complete

    Yes. This method and the following nine methods for which our answer starts with an asterisk (*) are all available in our award-winning EZ-Shop with Fitment. The X-ActFit parts fitment is a $1,200-per-year option to EZ-Shop that’s provided through an exclusive partnership with Ready2Ride. It allows consumers to find parts for their exact vehicle make and model. (Also note that 50 Below’s standard e-commerce product has these “shop-by” methods available: OEM and/or Aftermarket Catalog, Featured Products & Sales, Store Promotions, and OEM Promotions. There’s also a standard Search Box that you can type keywords in and pull results from.)

  • Search results help to correct spelling errors (i.e., “Did you mean?”)

    *Yes, via EZ-Shop.

  • Search by fitment (model, make, year) for OEM parts

    *Yes, via EZ-Shop.

  • Search by fitment for aftermarket parts

    *Yes, via EZ-Shop.

  • By-catalog shopping

    *Yes, via EZ-Shop.

  • By-brand shopping

    *Yes, via EZ-Shop.

  • By-vehicle-type shopping

    *Yes, via EZ-Shop.

  • By-promotions shopping (a “Specials” page)

    *Yes, via EZ-Shop.

  • Aftermarket-category shopping

    *Yes, via EZ-Shop.

  • By-price shopping (or by-price search refinement)

    *Yes, via EZ-Shop.

  • Parts fiche presentations


  • Configurable landing page

    Yes. The 50 Below Command Center allows for flexibility and creativity, practicality and functionality by a trained dealer and/or 50 Below representative.

  • Vehicle comparison function (how many units can be compared at once?)

    Yes. Three units can be compared at a time.

  • Craigslist integration

    Yes. This and other functionalities below are part of our exclusive partnership with Auction123.

  • Google Base integration

    Yes, part of our exclusive partnership with Auction123.

  • CycleTrader integration

    Yes, part of our exclusive partnership with Auction123.

  • eBay Motors integration

    Yes, part of our exclusive partnership with Auction123.

  • Auction123 integration

    Yes, part of our exclusive partnership with Auction123.

  • Yahoo! Stores integration


  • Price book integrations (please specify which)


  • Compatibility with mobile devices

    Compatibility, we would define, is if a consumer could find a dealer website, search for a product and securely order it on a "smartphone.” Most websites are viewable on a smartphone (iPhone, Blackberry, Treo, etc.), but they are not really usable from a consumer’s point of view.

    Over the next couple of years, more consumers will expect that websites be fully usable via smartphones. The 50 Below CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) Platform will make it fairly easy to make that transition.

  • Website traffic analyzer

    Yes. Our proprietary SurfWatcher is a Web traffic monitoring tool available to dealers through the 50 Below Command Center. SurfWatcher records where website visitors are coming from, the most popular pages, and the amount of traffic. Dealers can view their website’s daily performance.

    Google Analytics reports are reviewed during monthly and quarterly consultation phone calls between 50 Below and the dealer.

  • Ability to upload videos


  • Ability to create a blog

    This is not a built-in function. Free blog services are available for the dealer to set up and link to from their website.

  • Ability to list seminars and courses offered to customers

    Yes, via a custom page.

  • Ability to manage a rentals business

    Yes, a dealer can create a page in their e-commerce cart to display and manage rentals.

  • Ability to create a forum

    Not a built-in function. Free forum services are available for the dealer to set up and link to from their website.

  • Ability to conduct surveys

    Not a built-in function. Free survey services are available for the dealer to set up and link to from their website. (Dealers should note that they could do this with a website built by almost anyone.)

  • A customizable Privacy Policy page


  • Ability to allow customers to schedule service appointments

    Not at this time.

20. Are there any other features you’d like to note?

Through our partnership with HLSM, an industry leader in online and in-store parts microfiche diagrams for genuine OEM parts, we make it easy for consumers to find the exact part they need, and purchase it online. [Update September 2009: 50 Below has added PayPal as a payment option. It's free to dealers already having a PayPal account. 50 Below has also introduced its E-Series of website designs, which are wider than normal. They reportedly take advantage of changes in Web browser screen resolutions. — ed.]

21. What features could many of your dealers make better use of?

This is double-edged. While we never want dealers to feel like they’re alone, we want them to feel comfortable on their own, too. The 50 Below Command Center allows dealers to do so much with their website. They can edit, create, monitor traffic, and retrieve lead information from the secure Command Center. We provide a “walk-through agent” to train the dealers on navigation and function. No dealer is expected to run before they’re comfortable walking. Our representatives are always a phone call away and always ready to help.

22. Do you offer live demos?

Yes. 50 Below uses many channels to demo products to dealers. Our sales team will typically use GoToMeeting and WebEx to demo website products and features. Should the demo be of a larger scale we’re ready, willing and able with trained and competent specialists to conduct Webinars.

23. Do you have a referral program?

Not a program per se, but we gladly welcome any referrals from reps, dealers, and others. For referrals that become new clients of 50 Below there’s typically some sort of remuneration to the lead provider.

24. Any suggestions for dealers looking to improve their website?

We keep this fact in mind when building a dealer’s website: A website is a destination. Many dealers have the mind-set that a website is advertising. We firmly contend that the website needs to be thought of as a place, a destination where consumers arrive to gather information and make buying decisions. Every business should have three key destinations: the phone, the physical store and the website. Just like the brick-and-mortar store, customers will “go to” a website. Advertising is the vehicle that drives consumers to the three aforementioned destinations.

We know that a dealer only has seconds to attract and engage an online visitor. Our goal is to make the websites as reflective of the physical stores as possible. The website needs to be exciting, inviting, easy to navigate, and easy to place an order. That was the impetus to develop the award-winning Professional Web Site Merchandising. This product gives consumers compelling reasons to visit, to take action, and return to a dealer’s website.

Navigation may be above all. According to Jupiter Research, the No. 1 reason a visitor will stay on a website is because it’s easy to navigate. The award-winning EZ-Shop with Fitment was created based on such research of consumer shopping habits. The dimension-based shopping allows customer to find exactly, and easily, what they want. EZ-Shop with Fitment is the industry standard for website product search tools.

If a dealer wants to improve their website, online sales and overall Web presence, we recommend a conversation with a 50 Below representative to discuss meeting their goals, which we identify as:

  1. Good Quality Branding — the perception people have about the business.
  2. Accurate and Complete Information — the creation of a website to mirror the physical store.
  3. Ease of Communication — the enhancing of a clear dealer-to-customer and customer-to-dealer interaction.
  4. Ability to Make Transactions — how ever it occurs — phone, online, in-store — the sale initiated by the website is the final goal.

A 50 Below representative can be reached at 866-479-2693. Product information can be easily accessed at